Know How / Soils

Expert advice on how to improve and maintain your soil health to produce top yielding crops. Find out when to analyse your soil and how to interpret the samples. Improve the structure of your soil by encouraging earthworms, introducing organic matter and assessing fertiliser needs.

Advice and tips

CULTIVATORS

How, why and when to mole drain

Soggy fields, ruts deeper than your wellies and bubbling water from broken drains are all telltale signs your field drainage could do with a boost. It’s only in a wet…

SOILS

5 expert tips for maximising soil health

Good soil health is vital for achieving high yields and improving your soils doesn’t have to be a difficult task, says one Australian soil health expert. Simple measures like adding…

SOILS

5 tips to successfully convert to a no-till system

Adopting conservation agriculture can involve many highs and lows. We asked independent biological farming expert Mike Harrington to share his five top tips on how to make it a smoother process.…

COVER CROPS

How to pick the right cover crop mix this autumn

Interest in cover crops in the UK has been on a steep upward trajectory for several years, driven by their ability to right some of the environmental wrongs in cropping…

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Archive

FARMER FOCUS

Farmer Focus: Arable farming is becoming even riskier

With harvest behind us, it’s been time to roll the dice again for another year. The cropping mix remains broadly unchanged with the usual 80:20 split between autumn and spring…

FARMER FOCUS

Farmer Focus: Yield increases will come from organic matter

I recently visited a farm in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). As you can imagine, their challenges are enormous but, amazingly, their limitations to yield are the same…

FARMER FOCUS

Farmer Focus: Return to mixed farming for better soils

Harvest was finally completed on 6 October to finish what could be described as an average to good season. A period of settled weather since has allowed us to complete…

FARMER FOCUS

Farmer Focus: Yields 20% down in dry South African harvest

We have recently finished harvesting our 2015-16 summer crops and it is now time to reflect on the past season. Last year was officially the driest in South Africa since records…

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Case studies

SOILS

Award-winning grower explains strategy for top notch soils

Home-made compost combined with an extremely diverse rotation and minimal soil disturbance has the cut the inputs and agronomic management needed on Simon Cowell’s farm at Lawrence, near Southminster, Essex.…

SOILS

Why soil health is top priority for Sussex estate

A decision to come out of organic farming and the need to solve a soil erosion problem on vulnerable greensand soils combined to bring a complete rethink of the arable…

PLOUGHING AND CULTIVATION

Why wheat is £10/t cheaper to produce with no-till approach

No-till farmers produce wheat for £10/t less than their conventional counterparts, according to a benchmarking exercise of 12 farms in East Anglia. Accountancy expert Gary Markham says that the combination…

COVER CROPS

Why cover crops have a place on a mixed Hampshire farm

Cover cropping has earned its place in the arable rotation at Freefolk Farms in Hampshire, with stubble turnips being used ahead of spring cropping, bringing many benefits on the thin…

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Insights

SOILS

Award-winning grower explains strategy for top notch soils

Home-made compost combined with an extremely diverse rotation and minimal soil disturbance has the cut the inputs and agronomic management needed on Simon Cowell’s farm at Lawrence, near Southminster, Essex.…

CROP MANAGEMENT

3 grower-led trials that will benefit arable farms

More than 30 groups of farmers are carrying out their own research in the Innovative Farmers initiative, on topics ranging from electrical weeding to improving soil health. Richard Allison picks…

ARABLE

How US farmers are tackling pollution in the Gulf of Mexico

Nutrient run-off from agricultural land is being blamed for the vast oceanic dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico and farmers have responded by adopting measures more commonly seen in…

NUTRITION AND FERTILISER

Why phosphate fertiliser use on crops may have to change

Current best-practice strategies for phosphate fertiliser use in arable crops are based on feeding the soil to feed the crop, rather than the crop. As a result, the guidance in…

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News

PAYMENTS, SCHEMES AND GRANTS

Record number of farmers tender for cover crop funding

A record number of farmers have bid for funding to grow cover crops over winter and help protect water quality. United Utilities’ online reverse auction allowed Cheshire farmers, who own…

IRRIGATION

Big Suffolk estate to run out of reservoir water this week

One large Suffolk Breckland estate is set to see its two reservoirs run dry this week, with the biggest effect likely to be a reduction in the yields of its…

SOILS

Prototype cultivator helps slash soil erosion

In a bid to prevent torrents of water hurtling down compacted tramlines after heavy rainfall, Charles Creyke has designed a toolbar that ruffles up concrete-like tractor wheelings and creates clever…

CROP MANAGEMENT

AHDB Strategic Farm to analyse cost benefits of new research

A Warwickshire farmer aims to spend the next six years testing and demonstrating the latest research across 12 fields with a range of soil types and weed challenges, as well…

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Test and reviews

TECHNOLOGY

High-tech soil scanner delivers margin boosting data

The latest sensing technology to hit British shores is providing the data required to improve soil management and target inputs more efficiently than ever before. A handful of companies have…

ARABLE

New tractor tyre technology offers 18% more traction

The tyre designer’s job, it seems, is never done. As tractors continue to gain power and weight to meet farmer demand for greater performance, new tyre designs are needed to…

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Video

SUGAR BEET

Video: Sugar beet drilling starts as growers play catch-up

Sugar beet drilling is racing ahead between the rain showers on light land with one Suffolk Brecklands estate looking to catch up from its latest start in more than a…

BLACKGRASS

Video: The plan that battered blackgrass in 12 months

Three Cambridgeshire growers are fighting back against a heavy yield penalty imposed by blackgrass with a new establishment system and have seen a dramatic turnaround in just 12 months. Declining…

ARABLE

Video: How to sample your soil for analysis

The quieter winter months are a prime time to get a snapshot of the state of soils and consider any adjustments to maximise fertility and crop potential. Unlike most other…

COVER CROPS

Video: No-till wins over grower to direct-drilling

New to no-till grower Richard Boldan is driving forward his plans to convert to a reduced cultivation system for a more sustainable future, with ambitions to grow more spring crops and establish…

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